Author: Zhang, Dandan
Title: Chinese character-based theory and vocabulary knowledge in teaching Chinese as a foreign language
Degree: DALS
Year: 2018
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Chinese language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers
Chinese characters -- Study and teaching
Chinese language -- Vocabulary
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: 184 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Worldwide, increasing numbers of students who are learning Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) have called for effective and efficient ways of learning Chinese, especially written Chinese, in the classroom. As the critical part of second language acquisition, vocabulary knowledge plays an essential role in CFL learning and is receiving researchers' attention. However, improving written Chinese vocabulary knowledge is found very challenging for learners whose mother tongue has an orthographic system different from that of Chinese. Chinese character-based theory notes the characteristics of Chinese characters in word formation as well as vocabulary building for processing printed words, and emphasizes the connection between Chinese characters and words, the knowledge of which is likely to help enhance Chinese vocabulary acquisition. While some studies have explored the importance of character learning in CFL, few empirical studies have investigated the relationship between Chinese character-based teaching and vocabulary knowledge and the actual influence of Chinese characters on vocabulary learning among English speaking CFL learners. Situated within the Chinese character-based theoretical landscape, the present study aimed to explore the relationship of Chinese characters and Chinese vocabulary knowledge for processing printed words in CFL and extended that focus by investigating whether Chinese character-based word teaching is effective in promoting CFL vocabulary knowledge. The current study was conducted (1) to explore character-based vocabulary teaching material for CFL native English speakers at the beginner level; (2) to evaluate how character-based vocabulary teaching affected the size of vocabulary knowledge on learners when processing printed words; and (3) to investigate the relationship between character-based vocabulary teaching and the depth of vocabulary knowledge of the students. The research design consisted of two complementary sub-studies. The first compared different designs in a selected number of textbooks with regards to vocabulary presentation. Character-based textbooks and other references were used to develop a character-based vocabulary teaching design. The second sub-study investigated the relationship between character-based vocabulary teaching practice and vocabulary knowledge learning result of the students. The data were collected from a beginner level Chinese language learning program at the University of Kentucky in the United States. Students' vocabulary knowledge in recognizing printed words was evaluated after analysis of the data. Statistical analyses were used to measure the connection between character-based teaching and beginner level CFL students' vocabulary knowledge performance. The experimental group and control group learning results were then compared and analyzed.
The main findings of this thesis are as follows: (1) Chinese textbooks are categorized by different layouts of character and vocabulary. It was found that character-based vocabulary teaching methods could be extracted from different Chinese textbooks and reference books. (2) It was found that character-based teaching practice could improve CFL learners' size and depth of Chinese vocabulary knowledge in written text processing. The implications of this study include both theoretical and pedagogical aspects. Theoretically, it targets at Chinese character-based theory to CFL practice, exploring native English speaker CFL vocabulary knowledge. The performance of CFL learners, in return, suggests textbook designers could consider character-based layout and instructors might practice character-based teachingmethod in classroom teaching to help with students' vocabulary knowledge in written text processing.

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/9889